Postcards of Grief

Mourning is a process.

Comments on breast cancer by proxy, written by a woman coping with the loss of her mother.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Two days since the debate

It was an evening like most Tuesday evenings tend to be for me. I left work, went home, had a snack, read the paper, and chatted with Brooke. We grabbed some old pots and pans that we had in storage in the basement and put them in a bag to take to church. We brought popping corn and peanut oil. We were getting ready for eating with our Tuesday night church dinner group and watching the debates with anyone who could stay. At the last moment, we grabbed some firewood to improve the ambiance of our church's basement lounge.

As usual, I drove. As usual, Brooke reminded me not to get so hostile about other drivers' inabilities to drive. As usual, we pulled onto the church's lawn to make room for other cars.

As unusual, she chirped, "It's Becky!" I turned and saw Becky standing by the my door, smiling and waving. Becky, a friend of Brooke from school who is a religious Jew, was not in the appropriate context, the current context being church dinner. So I was a little confused but adjusted when I finally kicked in my remaining social skills and got out of the car to say hello. We convinced Becky to stay for dinner and the debate, and we went inside to take off our coats and chat.

We met a friend of Tim, the church's student activities coordinator (or some such title), named Derek. We stood around and gabbed about all of the people Becky knows in common with the life sciences graduate students. We sat down and ate. We laughed, we talked, we got up to clean the dishes. Chris started washing. His spouse, Anne, started triaging dishes. I was rinsing. Brooke was drying. Derek was doling leftover pasta into Gladware.

This is when things got weird.

The conversation started about watching the vice-presidential debate that evening, and who was going to stay to see it. Somehow, someone made a negative remark about Bush—no surprise there—but Derek asked what we dislike about him. Annoyed, I uttered something about it starting with the Federal Marriage Amendment and going from there.

"So, are you in favor of gay marriage?"

Brooke put down her dishtowel and left the kitchen, but not before she muttered to Anne, "In fact, I highly recommend it."

The truth here is that Anne and Chris were my advocates in this discussion. I tried to argue against his Biblical references, but without having any warning about a Bible chat about homos, I wasn't in tiptop form. We did the usuals: Sodom and Gomorrah wasn't about gays, it was about gang rape; the reference in Romans is about fertility cults and orgies and isn't explicit that the sex along caused God to turn away from them; our understanding of human sexuality has changed so dramatically that these admonitions aren't relevant. Brooke came back in at some point, but it was shortly thereafter that Derek sighed and asked:

"What about abortion?"

(This is when things got weirder.)

Holy shit. Why on God's green earth would you ask that question of a bunch of people who just told you that gay marriage turned their boots gold? Boiled down, the conversation went something like this.

You like it when people kill babies?

We don't think that abortion should be criminalized.

But it's a baby!

We don't want women to suffer complications from illegal abortions.

Who cares about the women? I'm talking about babies!

It's a sad thing that women don't have the access to the information and contraceptives that they need and that abortion is sometimes the result.

But shouldn't people take responsibility instead of killing babies?

Let's have this conversation again when girls understand that they always have the right to say no and that boy understand they don't have the right to pressure girls.

sigh Then what about partial birth abortion?

There's no medical procedure by that name.

You do know what I mean?

Yes, it's called dilation and extraction.

It's killing babies!

Late term abortion is far more often for medical reasons than elective ones.

But that's a life! A baby!

Women deserve to make those decisions for themselves and with their doctors, if necessary.

I don't remember at what point the conversation ended. Maybe it was when I mentioned that if D&X is outlawed, women whose fetuses die in the womb after 14 weeks could well be barred from having that procedure, and it would be all Derek's fault that this woman would have to have labor induced so that she could push out her dead baby. Could be.


Post a Comment

<< Home

This gif is freely copyable. Just right click, save
Powered by
RSSify at WCC

Powered by Blogger